Selling a house can be a complex transaction, with so many variables and issues that need to be dealt with as they arise. I want to answer some of your questions in this article – but please feel free to contact me with any other questions you may have. The following general information is based on Selling a Home in Gallatin TN.
What is the Cost of Selling a House?
The cost of selling a house typically includes:
- Any outstanding balances on mortgage(s), including a home equity line of credit.
- Realtor fees if you are not selling by owner – This fee is negotiable depending on the Realtor and level of service. It can be anywhere from a small fee for listing only (with no service involved) – to a negotiated rate. I’ve seen commission fees as little as a small flat fee and much as 7% of the sales price…where they are even charging for their advertising. It all depends on the Realtor you choose.
- You should be prepared to pay for a title search and title insurance policy. This depends on the sales price of the home. If you have kept your title insurance policy from when you bought the house, you may qualify for a 20-30% discount on the new policy. If you have this policy, be sure to make your Realtor or closing agent aware of it. It pays to keep all your records.
- You will also need to pay for any repairs resulting from a home inspection. You may be asked to make a lot of repairs – but they should be limited to either structural or safety issues. Some people ask for these repairs to be made by a licensed contractor. If you don’t want to have that expense – it might be a good idea to make any repairs that you are aware of now before getting into that situation.
- Your real estate taxes will have to be paid up to the day you close. Most people have an escrow account for paying these taxes, but if you don’t – then be prepared to pay them at closing.
- If you have any outstanding liens on the property – they will have to be satisfied. You might check with an attorney if you have any outstanding IRS situations, because they will most likely have to be paid as well.
- If the pest inspection reveals any termite or wood destroying insect problems, they will have to be taken care of before closing.
You might want to see our monthly market reports.
How to Get a House Ready to Sell in Gallatin TN
First things first! Make any needed repairs now because you’re going to have to make them anyway – and you certainly don’t want those un-addressed problems to be a turn-off for potential buyers. Sometimes it’s hard to spot problems because we get so used to seeing them that we don’t see them. So, try to look at the house through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time. Or have your Realtor walk through with you and point out these things.
Now’s also the time to get nitpicky clean.
Check lampshades and vacuum them, check toilet seats and replace them if they are um, nasty.
Clean ceiling fans and air vents, remove grime, mold, and stains.
The process of selling your home can, without a doubt, be stressful,
eliminate most of the reasons you’ll have to keep showing your home over and over again
(without receiving an offer)
by, at the bare minimum, avoiding these common mistakes.
The features I have found to make the biggest difference, and get you the biggest ROI!
- Drop dead gorgeous awe-inspiring light fixtures!
- Paint or add trim/beams to a few ceilings!
- Fresh coat of neutral warm paint!
- Clean or replace carpet
- DECLUTTER….I mean “Lisa Declutter”….there is a difference!
- Clean up outside! Give away, pack up or sell backyard clutter!
- Paint your front door. Add house numbers and fresh flowers and a new welcome mat!
- Clean out closets and reorganize! Show your home has plenty of space!
Some other types of repairs….do them now or later…
but you’ll end up doing most of these anyway:
- Check the door/window frames for any rotting wood or peeling paint. Make sure they look their best with caulking and a new coat of paint. Checking out the wood anywhere on the house is a good idea.
- Do you have any leaking faucets? Fix them now!
- Note that if you have any downspouts that are not diverting water well away from the house – there is most likely some water in the crawl space. This is a big no-no! A home inspector will nail this one. And make sure you have heavy mil plastic covering the ground over the whole crawl space. Water is the major enemy of any house….be sure to keep it under control.
- Have the HVAC system checked out and have the invoice on hand if you need to show it to anyone. Make sure the duct work is intact with no air escaping. ALWAYS have clean filters installed!!
- One thing that is mentioned on home inspection reports is the plenum area (when you open your filter screen) – have the HVAC guy seal inside that area. It’s expensive when they have to come back just for that little fix.
- How’s the roof? Check the condition and repair any problem areas! What about the gutters? Clean them out now. Any water stains on the ceilings? They are hard to deal with – but make sure to fix the problem that caused the stain. Then you might try Kilz – then paint.
- Any soft spots in the flooring? Check especially around toilets. Don’t wait to fix these things whether or not you sell the house. Because it will only get worse.
- Carpets? Are they in good condition? Are they clean or do they have dark stains? This will surely be noticed. What about vinyl flooring? Are there any tears or areas where water could get underneath?
- Foundation cracks? Not too much you can do about that except have someone check it out so you will have some answers for potential buyers. Fix them if you can – but if not, be honest about it and show that you have done something!
- Clean – clean – clean! Everything! Freshen up and clean up! Clean out closets and box up everything that you can do without during this selling process, and this includes clothes closets and pantries as well. Get clutter out of the way. Wash those windows and make them sparkle! Don’t forget the garage – clean and organize! It’s also a good idea to put away a lot of pictures and personal items. Less is more!
- A small thing that seems to be noted on about 80% of home inspection reports is the outside water faucets. Many times they are loose and they will have to be secured…whether grouted or screwed into the outside wall. But, while you have a handyman there – it’s a simple thing to check out to save another trip later.
- Weed and mulch flower beds so they look their best. First impressions are so important.
- Power wash the driveways, sidewalks and patios. They will look so much cleaner and brighter.
- Is there a septic tank? Any odors or problems with it? Has it been pumped within the last few years?
- Last but certainly not least – ODORS!! Smoking odors and pet odors are a huge turn-off for most buyers. They are so hard to get rid of because they settle into the carpets, draperies and furniture. Do whatever it takes to get rid of them.
I know this is a lot of work – but it will be worth it! And it makes the house nicer to live in while you are waiting for the right buyer.
Take a look at our post – How to Buy a House in Gallatin TN. This post will give you a view from the other side… things that your potential buyer’s might look for.
You Have an Offer on the House – Now What?
Pay attention to the type financing your potential buyer is using! Did you know that there is a big difference in the type mortgage someone obtains to buy your house? For instance, if they are buying with cash – it’s obviously a very easy transaction. Conventional loans are fairly easy as well. When you get into FHA loans, there are more government regulations to consider. The appraiser will look for more things that require repairs. The VA loans are hardest in my opinion, because the appraiser really takes the deepest look into the condition of the house. And when the appraiser orders repairs – they have to be done, and he will have to come back to make sure that they are completed. If you are not connected to city water, the government loan programs require that you hook on the water line if it is available. This can get very expensive. So, just pay attention to the type financing they are obtaining and ask your questions so you won’t get surprised later. Don’t accept an offer without a pre-approval letter. It’s really not worth much – but it does show that they have made application, and the lender is not going to give them this letter of pre-approval if they are not qualified to buy. But, it is NOT an approval letter. It is contingent upon many things that could go wrong before closing. There are a lot of ‘ifs’ in that letter.
If you are using a Realtor – get a written estimate of all your costs right up front. And pay attention to what buyers are asking for, and put a pencil to it!
What Costs do Buyers Typically Pay for?
Typically, buyer pays for appraisal, home inspection and pest inspection. However, if any pest problems are found, then the seller pays for the repair, spraying, etc. Buyers also pay for the state tax transfer fee. Up to 6% of closing costs can legally be paid for by seller – but this is usually negotiated. It’s a big expense and sellers are not very receptive to paying a lot of these costs.
Can St. Joseph Help You Sell Your Home?
Many people think so! They even sell them at the Nashville Board of Realtors. People believe that if you bury a St. Joseph statue upside down in your front yard, then your house will sell quickly. You can buy them online for under $10. I’ve not seen them do much either way.
How to Sell a House Fast in Gallatin TN?
Lower the price! That’s the only way I know that will result in a quick sale. The lower the price – the quicker the sale. If it’s in a really hot area, it will sell fast. If it’s in tip-top shape, it will sell quicker. So much depends on the market, the location and condition of the house. Wish I had a better answer for this question! Other things you can do is offer to pay closing costs for the new buyers, or offer a bonus to selling agent for a contract within a specified time frame. Or a decorating allowance if the house is dated. I’ve seen people offer ball game tickets to the new buyer….or even a cruise. It depends on how quickly you want or need to sell.
How Do I Price My House to Sell Fast?
You start with a market analysis, which is a listing of homes that have sold near your home within the past 6 or 12 months. These properties (comps) should be similar in size and features to your house. What they have sold for will determine what you can expect to receive from your sale. This isn’t an appraisal, but it can be very close. Then price it under that value and it should sell quickly. The farther it’s priced under the comps – the quicker you can expect a sale.
What Can Go Wrong with Selling a House?
Let me count the ways! These things usually don’t go wrong – but in this world we live in – anything can happen. Here are a few things that I’ve observed during the past 30+ years of being a Realtor:
- Believe it or not – but buyers and sellers often get into an argument. That’s one big reason to use a Realtor. We are mediators between two people that are already in the stressful situation of buying or selling a home. Tensions and emotions can run high, and it’s so much better if everyone can keep a level head and stay calm.
- I’ve seen sellers cut down a tree that the buyers wanted to keep. This resulted in a lawsuit.
- Sometimes buyers lose their job or unknowingly change jobs that causes them to no longer qualify for the loan.
- Sometime buyers do crazy things like buying a new car right in the middle of buying a house. This causes major problems with their debt to income ratios. So, again, they may no longer qualify. This is another reason to use a Realtor who can advise buyers and avoid these problems.
- There could even be a death of one of the parties, which could obviously cause the deal to fall through.
- It’s difficult when heirs are involved in settling an estate. Often, they don’t agree on things and it can cause the sale to stall or even crash and burn. I had a situation like this a few months ago. The heirs kept analyzing things to death and the buyers finally got fed up with the whole thing and moved on. The house ended up in foreclosure. So sad!
- It’s the same with a divorce situation. The parties can’t seem to agree on anything – and consequently the sale suffers. By the time they hire lawyers to fight it out and the court orders the sale, they have lost any profit that they would have made. They both lose….when it would have been so simple just to get along and take care of business.
- My previous broker had one sale a few years ago that couldn’t close because there was a criminal investigation ongoing (that we didn’t know about until the closing started getting delayed). Apparently the husband had shot and killed his wife in the kitchen and the house couldn’t close until the investigation was over. This was a huge problem, not to mention the fact that I didn’t want the buyer to close on a house where this had happened. We discussed it and things worked out ok. But, we should always expect the unexpected!
I hope this article on How to Sell a Home has been helpful to you. If so, please share. And be sure to call or contact me with any questions you may have.
Just for fun – want to see some Stunning Examples of Homes for Sale in Gallatin TN?